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RULE §781.311Client Confidentiality

(a) Communication between a licensee and client, as well as the client's records, however created or stored, are confidential under the provisions of the Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 181, Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 611, and other state or federal statutes or rules, including rules of evidence, where such statutes or rules apply to a licensee's practice.

(b) A licensee shall not disclose any communication, record, or client identity except as provided in the Texas Health and Safety Code, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and/or other applicable state or federal statutes or rules.

(c) A licensee shall comply with Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 611, concerning access to mental health records.

(d) To release information for or about clients, a licensee shall have written permission signed by the client or the client guardian. That permission, which must be dated, shall include the client's name and identifying information; the purpose for releasing the information; the individual or entity to which the information is released; the length of time the release is authorized; the signature of the client or guardian representative; and date of signature.

(e) The social worker shall maintain the written release of information in the permanent client record and shall review and update it at least every twelve months.

(f) A licensee shall report information if required by any of the following statutes:

  (1) Texas Family Code, Chapter 261, concerning abuse or neglect of minors;

  (2) Texas Human Resources Code, Chapter 48, concerning abuse, neglect, or exploitation of elderly or disabled persons;

  (3) Texas Health and Safety Code, §161.131 et seq., concerning abuse, neglect, and illegal, unprofessional, or unethical conduct in an in-patient mental health facility, a chemical dependency treatment facility or a hospital providing comprehensive medical rehabilitation services; and

  (4) Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, §81.006, concerning sexual exploitation by a mental health services provider.

(g) A licensee may take reasonable action to inform only medical or law enforcement personnel if the professional determines that a client or others are at imminent risk of physical injury, or a client is in immediate risk of mental or emotional injury, in accordance with the Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 611, concerning mental health records.

Source Note: The provisions of this §781.311 adopted to be effective November 19, 2020, 45 TexReg 8157

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